What does the 'red tag' on my commercial gas appliance mean?

Just as your commercial HVAC technician finished up their monthly inspection of your commercial gas appliance (you're getting it checked regularly, right?), they slapped a red tag on the front before heading off to another job.

Now you're left with questions and apprehension on what that red tag means, and how to take care of it. This is what you need to know about the red tag.

What is a red tag?

A red tag on commercial HVAC equipment means the appliance installed is unsafe, and requires an immediate repair or replacement. Red tags can only be designated by a licensed HVAC technician. Depending on the severity of the HVAC equipment issue, the HVAC technician is required by law to turn off the gas as a safety precaution for the building's tenants.

There are two types of red tags:

  • If the gas appliance is a major hazard, like a carbon monoxide leak, the equipment will be labeled with a Type A red tag. Your gas line will need to be turned off immediately.
  • If the appliance doesn't pose an immediate risk to the building and its tenants, the HVAC technician will use the Type B red tag. Your local utility will be notified, too. This tag represents a 30-day deadline to have the labeled equipment either replaced or repaired. Failure to remedy the problem will result in your local utility shutting off the gas to your building.

Why did my commercial HVAC equipment get red tagged?

HVAC appliances in 'unacceptable condition', according to the licensed HVAC technician, are required by law to receive a red tag. The tech discerns the problem, and decides which type of tag should be used.

Unacceptable conditions can include, but aren't limited to, the following:

  • Damage and/or deterioration impairs safe operation of the appliance.
  • Problems with piping, tubing, or hoses.
  • Being used for other unintended purposes.
  • Alterations to the equipment have impaired safe operation.

All of these issues can lead to more serious problems in the building; for example, a crack in the heat exchanger can lead to carbon monoxide leaks that can be fatal if undetected.

What should I do if my appliance is red-tagged?

Regardless of whether your appliance received a Type A (Immediate Hazard) or B (Unacceptable Condition) red tag, you should contact your commercial HVAC company to immediately repair or replace the equipment.

Your building needs gas, and delaying it will have a trickledown effect, causing other delays in the building if it needs to shut down. With a Type B tag, while you do have 30 days, it's best not to take any chances with the safety of the building tenants, not to mention the higher costs of running inefficient HVAC equipment.

Need to repair or replace your commercial HVAC equipment so your building is red tag-free?

Ambient Mechanical's HVAC technicians can quickly solve the problem and come up with a cost-effective solution that minimizes building operation downtime. We can even retrofit custom HVAC equipment that's made for your building and its HVAC needs, ensuring better efficiency and longevity.

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